Monday, May 16, 2016

BBBabes.... spring has arrived!

Our experienced Bread Baking Babe Cathy ("Bread Experience") has picked us a wonderful spring recipe; a spring focaccia, a thin focaccia made with a poolish, fresh lemon slices and topped with some spring greens after baking.

I haven't baked a focaccia in a while and even though it takes time as the dough is folded every 20 minutes in the beginning, but this gives that lovely crisp crust, airy and soft crumb that I really love ánd have been missing without realising it. As topping I kept it simple, lemon slices, black sesame seeds, za'atar, coarse salt. And some fresh herbs after baking. Some here took the lemon slices off before eating the focaccia, but then it still had the lovely fresh lemon flavour from the juices that had gone into the bread. And there were requests to make this again! So this was a winner here, thanks Cathy for this beautiful recipe!

And I can really recommend for you all to bake it too, if you think 4 focaccia's is to much for you, just half the recipe. So give this recipe a try and become our Bread Baking Buddy! Bake, post, and send your findings and details to our Kitchen of the month May: Cathy "Bread Experience" and get a Bread Baking Buddy Badge to add to your blogpost. But most of all you can enjoy this lovely flatbread! Happy baking!

Thin Crispy Spring Focaccia
Makes: 4 x 400 g focaccias
(PRINT recipe)
40 g (100 %) bread flour
44 g(125%) water, room temperature
1/8 tsp instant yeast

Final dough
668 g (80%) bread flour
167 g (20%) whole wheat flour
¼ tsp instant yeast
625 g (75%) - 725 g (87%) water
84 g (All) poolish
17 g olive oil
25 g water (3%), to mix with the salt
17 g coarse sea salt
Topping suggestions
olive oil
coarse sea salt, for sprinkling if desired
fennel seeds, to taste
dried thyme, to taste
lemon slices, thinly sliced
spring mix greens, or other greens as desired
alfalfa sprouts

In a medium bowl, whisk together the bread flour and yeast. Pour in the room temperature water and combine using a wooden spoon. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a spatula or dough scraper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter at room temperature (25ºC) for 12 to 14 hours.
Final dough:
The next day, or when ready to mix the final dough, whisk together the flours and yeast in a large bowl. Pour the water and oil over the poolish and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or Danish dough whisk to break up the poolish. Add the water gradually, reserving the 25 grams to mix with the salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a dough scraper, cover and let it rest (autolyze) for 20 minutes.
Uncover and sprinkle the salt over the top of the dough. Pour the remaining 25 g of water over the salt to dissolve it.  Using wet hands, thoroughly incorporate the salt into the dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
Sprinkle water on a work surface. Uncover the dough and transfer it to the wet surface. Using wet hands, fold the dough from all sides.  Then gently tuck the seams under and place the dough back in the bowl. Using water on the counter and your hands, alleviates the need to oil the bowl or the work surface. Cover the bowl again with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set the dough aside for the third time to ferment for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle water on the work surface again and fold the dough one last time. Tuck the seams under and place it back in the bowl. Cover and set it aside to ferment for 2 hours.

An hour before you plan to bake the focaccia, place a baking stone or tiles in the oven and preheat it to 260ºC. If you plan to use a pan for steam, place it in the oven at this time.

Sprinkle your work surface with water. Transfer the dough to the work surface and divide it into four equal pieces. Depending on the type of flour you use and the hydration, each piece will be approximately 400 g.  Mine were about 410 g each.

Shape each piece into a round and cover with plastic. Let them bench rest for 15 minutes.

Lightly oil two half sheets of parchment paper. Place one dough ball on each sheet. Gently press on the dough to degas it and then shape each piece into a flattish round.  Cover the rounds with plastic wrap and let them proof for 45 minutes.

Uncover the dough, drizzle olive oil over the top and gently stretch each piece into an oval disk the length of the parchment paper, or to the desired size.  Sprinkle the top with fennel seeds, thyme and sea salt (optional) and place thinly sliced lemons, as desired.   
The first time I made these focaccias, I used one lemon to top two focaccias, but it really needed more so for the next batch, I added more lemon slices.

Using a baker’s peel or unrimmed baking sheet, transfer the focaccia (on the parchment) to the preheated baking stone.  If using steam, add ice cubes to the steam pan.  I used my new baking steel with no added steam.  

Bake the focaccia for 10 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and crisp around the edges. Remove the parchment paper partway through baking to allow the bottom to firm up.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.  Add a handful of the spring mix greens and sprouted alfalfa and tear apart pieces or slice it if you prefer.
Repeat with the remaining focaccias.
(Adapted from: The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Bread Baking by The French Culinary Institute)


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

They took the lemon off! We were wild for the lemon.

Love the za'atar! I can add that tonight!

As always Lien, your loaf is gorgeous.

Karen said...

Fantastic airy bread! I'm going to have to try it with za'atar too.

hobby baker Kelly said...

So pretty! I really need to try one with lemon, it looks delicious.

Elizabeth said...

Oh Oh Oh! What a good idea to use za'atar with the lemons. Your focaccia looks wonderful. I love the way the lemons collapse. And the crumb looks perfect!

Cathy (Bread Experience) said...

Your focaccia looks so beautiful, light and airy. I love the combination you used. I was going to use za'atar but didn't have any so I went with thyme instead. I confess, I ate some with lemon slices and some without but I loved the lemon flavor.

Elle said...

Beautiful crumb and most appealing topping Lien. Is that cilantro on top? Looks just like spring!

Katie Zeller said...

Take the lemon off???? Non! They look lovely, so fresh and, well, spring-like

Judy said...

I think I have za'atar in the pantry and I suppose I should actually use it. There are lemons on the tree in the backyard, so I see another focaccia in my future. Looks delicious.